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Alabaster Caverns State Park

Intense Lighting, Inc.

Project Name

Alabaster Caverns State Park

Project Status


Year Completed



610 sq. feet


State of Oklahoma





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Project Description

A highly unique and challenging installation of Intense Lighting's new LED V-Rail Handrail System created an energy efficient, ideal lighting and handrail solution inside a cave visited daily by tourists in rural Oklahoma. For more than a decade, visitors relied on a T-5 fluorescent handrail system to better traverse the 330 steps down into the cave that extends ¾ of a mile long. However, the system began to corrode where the poles entered the ground because gypsum is extremely alkaline. It was also emanating enough heat from the light source that moss was beginning to grow, which can offset the natural balance inside this living cave. These issues, compounded with maintenance troubles that included lights burning out and lenses coming off the handrails quickly became a safety hazard and made the need for a new system all too apparent.

In 2010, the Oklahoma Department of Tourism decided to call in Cy Nowkhah, an engineer and project manager with Flynt & Kallenberger Engineering in Broken Arrow, OK whom they had worked with in the past. They asked him to design a new lighting system and find the right product line for a better handrail solution. He turned to colleague Bob Smith of Smith Lighting Sales in Tulsa for ideas. Smith immediately suggested Intense Lighting’s LED V-Rail System featuring a sleek, minimalistic design and high efficiency, low-energy LED lighting—everything this job required to address the challenges posed.

A request for samples was submitted and Intense Lighting’s VP of Sales Tom Elam got involved because of the unique challenges installing in a cave environment were sure to bring. “We came in and initially proposed a concrete base with a PVC pad with our aluminum pole to get everything above ground level,” Elam says. “We knew they had a tight budget and we were trying to provide cost-effective solutions. They liked our plan because we could install the Lutron driver right inside the post that works the LED. Although the job was originally bid with our original V-Rail system that features aluminum poles, it made more sense to replace it with our recently launched Gen 2 version, which comes with stainless steel poles. This option has created a much stronger, long-term solution for this project.”
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